To boost the image and selling prices of European brands Vauxhall and Opel, General Motors Co. mulls entering the World Rally Championship for the first time in over 20 years. Nick Reilly, president of GM's European operations, says success in motor sport would drive the appeal of GM's models to younger buyers after its image was hurt by a $50 billion government bailout. Reilly adds that, while winning many awards, Opel and Vauxhall probably don't command the prices they deserve.
He adds that GM Europe is contemplating touring-car events, in which standard sedans compete on racing circuits and the U.S.-based Chevrolet unit has just bagged its first world championship. Carmakers have been quitting racing in recent years.
Taking place on gravel tracks and public roads, a return to rallying would cost more. In 2008, as the slump crippled sales, Suzuki Motor Corp. and Subaru quit the World Rally Championship. Meanwhile, BMW AG, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. withdrew from the world's most-watched and richest motor sport: Formula One. [via autonews - sub. required]